In our second blog of our Advanced Roadmaps Blog Series, we will focus on the importance of good information structure and how it can improve your Advanced Roadmaps plan. In our first blog of the series, we discussed how Advanced Roadmaps works and how it can help teams scale operations and drive better business outcomes. Now we will dive into how to set up your information in Jira to make an effective plan.

When creating a plan, it's imperative that the plan is using great structure and information. Great structure helps derive insights more effectively and makes the plan easier to understand. I always like to compare plan building in Advanced Roadmaps to baking cookies. When baking cookies, it's important that quality ingredients are used and those ingredients are being used in the right amounts. The same goes for Advanced Roadmaps plans! In this case, the Jira information are our ingredients and the structure of that information is our recipe. An Advanced Roadmaps plan is only as good as its information structure. Leveraging good information and repeatedly using a solid structure makes for making great cookies, err, I mean plans! Is anybody hungry here?

Hierarchy

Information structure includes numerous pieces, the first being the work hierarchy. It's important that your team establishes a hierarchy of work items and leverages that hierarchy consistently. Advanced Roadmaps accommodates the varying work hierarchies teams use. Some teams may have a hierarchy of epics all the way down to tasks. Some teams may just use stories and sub-tasks. Those are just a few examples. As long as structure is established and it is being used properly, you're well on your way!

Advanced Roadmaps will reflect this hierarchy within the plan that you build. Work from Jira is grouped together based on the hierarchy within projects and how those issues are linked. In the Advanced Roadmaps plan, the information is shown in a tiered view so you can quickly see how lower level work, like stories and tasks, tie to higher level work, like epics and initiatives. 

It's important that the team, or teams, included in the plan are thinking about the work in the same hierarchy. This comes in handy when discussing work at each level and teams can understand the magnitude of the work being done. When everyone is on the same page they can strategize and plan work more effectively. 

Jira Projects

The next piece of the structure involves the Jira projects that are included in the plan. The information that is reflected in plans can come from full Jira projects or boards within those projects. The information that is included in the issues will be displayed on the plan. Project configurations and how well information is recorded across projects will have an impact on the effectiveness of the plan.

If your team is including information across multiple projects, project configuration becomes extremely important. Sharing configurations across projects means they will use the same statuses, screens, workflows, and fields. These shared configurations have significant benefits. Statuses can be reduced, which makes it easier to understand the stage of the work being done across projects. Work is grouped together in the plan in a much cleaner fashion.

Shared configurations also result in a more standard way of recording information. There will be more consistency in the information that is filled out within Jira issues. For example, having a configuration that requires start and end dates enhances all related plans. If requiring this information wasn't standard, it would be more difficult to plan out incoming work. Sharing configurations is extremely beneficial as you start to add more and more project to the plan

Filtering and Linking Issues

Filtering information going into a plan is a good way to highlight the most important work for your team. Advanced Roadmaps has a filtering feature that allows you to include information that you want given a certain criteria. An effective filtering method that I have seen is filtering issues by issue type. There is a limit on the number of issues that can go into a plan. Filtering out certain issue types reduces noise from work you might not want to see. For example, a large number of sub-tasks can be present within a project and may not be necessary for the plan. Adding those sub-tasks into the plan can make the plan busy and could distract from more important information. Advanced Roadmaps enables users to filter those issues out. This creates more room for the relevant work that you want to track.

Advanced Roadmaps can display links between Jira issues. Consistently linking issues, when applicable, within Jira can provide additional context to your plan. Issue linking helps show how work items depend on one another and can show how issues relates to higher level work. This practice also helps track dependencies, which can help you more accurately plan and prioritize work with your plan.

Good information structure is very important to creating an effective plan to drive success. Hierarchy, standardization, filtering, and linking are great ways to make the plan look good, but they are also important when you start strategizing and communicating with your plan. 

In the next blog of our Advanced Roadmaps blog series, we will discuss how to plan capacity by using the tool. Advanced Roadmaps provides many features that can help your team plan workload effectively. Please stay tuned!

Reach out to Praecipio Consulting if you would like to learn more about Advanced Roadmaps and how it can help your business or team implement Agile at Scale practices. 

Michael Lyons

Written by Michael Lyons

Mike is a Solutions Architect here at Praecipio Consulting. He enjoys solving complex problems for clients to help them improve their business processes. In his free time, Mike enjoys spending time with family and playing guitar!

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